Conklin, PA sports officials highlight need for PIAA competition reform

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Scott Conklin joined school sports officials and student athletes at the Pennsylvania Capitol today to urge support for his proposal that would better protect players in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association competitions. 

Conklin – whose H.B. 1983 would allow the PIAA to establish alternative playoffs and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools – spoke about how the current system jeopardizes student safety by pitting public school teams against private, charter and parochial school teams that are often larger and better equipped.

“By leaving public schools no option but to compete against larger, more powerful teams recruited by private schools, the PIAA’s current system is putting student athletes from public schools at a huge disadvantage before they even set foot on the field,” Conklin said. “It’s a system that sets kids up for failure, sends the wrong message and – worst of all – exposes them to the risk of serious injury.

“We need to reform the playoff rules by allowing the PIAA to set up alternate playoff systems and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools. Having separate playoffs would not hurt the element of competition – it would merely ensure those contests are waged on a level playing field.”

Hall of Fame Football Coach Jim Cantafio and Bald Eagle Athletic Director Doug Dyke spoke about the need to reform the PIAA playoff system, and Bald Eagle High School athlete Carson Nagle gave his perspective about how the current system is demoralizing for players.

Traditional public schools are referred to as boundary schools because they generally must recruit from within district boundaries, while private, parochial and charter schools may draw student athletes from multiple districts.

Video of the full news conference is available here:

Video of Rep. Conklin’s remarks is available here:

Photos from the news conference are available here: